Suggested two-hour visits
This 3/4 –mile loop beneath the shady forest canopy around the lake takes less than an hour to complete.
Trail access points:
- East of Helen Newman Hall on North Campus
- Off of Forest Home Drive near the intersection of Plantations Road
- Off of Forest Home Drive behind Martha Van Rensselaer Hall
Nestled at the foot of a bluff and on an active floodplain of Fall Creek, this garden is a centerpiece of Plantations' native plant education program. Like many floodplains, it has rich soils, and a high diversity of native plants, abundant wildflowers, and rare species.
To guide your plant discovery, you will find:
- Labels next to over 200 native plant species.
- Photographs and up-to-date lists of the season's flowering plants at the "Garden Highlights" display near the garden entrance.
The lower section of Cascadilla Gorge is truly a "gorges" display of rock, water and trees. Cascadilla Creek drops 400 feet from campus to downtown Ithaca, carving through bedrock - shales, siltstone and sandstone - exposing sedimentary rocks that were deposited 400 million years ago. Look for ripple marks on the rock surface, which once was the muddy floor of an ancient ocean. Here also is a tremendous variety of forest and creek habitats packed into a small area. Click here for a brief account of how the gorges were formed.
You can access a trail through the gorge from the "Treman Triangle" off of Linn Street in downtown Ithaca and at the trailhead behind the Schwartz Performing Arts Center.
Please note: The lower section of the gorge (from Lynn Street to College Avenue) closes during the colder months from mid-November to mid-April. View Cornell's Gorge Safety website for current gorge conditions.